Sidewalk prayer service remembers slain mother

In the wake of the murder of 29-year old Melissa Santiago across the street from his church, Pastor Bruce Wall led a sidewalk prayer service in front of the Washington Street home where the young mother was slain.

Santiago was stabbed on March 9 at her Washington Street residence, which is close to Wall's Global Ministries Christian Church. Her boyfriend, Jose Torres, was arrested in connection with the stabbing and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental evaluation. He is due back in court March 28.

During the sidewalk event on Saturday, Wall called on fellow pastors to patrol blocks of Dorchester and other parts of their community.

"I just couldn't fathom being at my churchÂ…while we're doing this, there's a woman fighting for her life," he said.

Iris Vega, Santiago's mother-in-law, was among those in attendance.

"I just met these people today," said Vega, who had just gotten in from Florida that day. "It feels nice, because I don't know what to do."

Vega added, "She didn't deserve to die this way. Nobody does."

Clad in a denim shirt and jeans, Wall said the church would be contributing $500 to the burial service. The event drew a few others, and nearly a dozen Guardian Angels, dressed in their red jackets and berets. They stood outside during the radio broadcast before setting out for a patrol.

The praying also drew a Nevada man, who was heading back to his hotel from a computer software conference in Westborough.

Eric Robinson said he had heard the praying on the radio and decided to swing on by, punching the location into his Global Positioning System (GPS).

"I said, 'I gotta get there,'" he said after praying with Wall.